Islamabad zoo loses another precious ‘inmate’, ostrich this time

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Adhocism is taking heavily toll on the lives and wellbeing of the inmates of the Marghazar Zoo’s as on Tuesday, one of the ‘rare breed’ ostriches, a male bird, lost its life reportedly due to negligence of the staff. This is the second consecutive death of an ostrich in two years. Last year too, the zoo had lost a male ostrich and inquiry into the poor bird’s death is still pending. Islamabad zoo which is also called Marghazar Zoo has been losing its animals and birds slowly but steadily. In 2014 the zoo had suffered from a setback when everyone’s favourite, Saheli the female elephant died leaving its partner Kaven alone.
However, despite all these deaths and losses, CDA continues to run the zoo in a half-hearted way leaving the responsibility to a civil engineer who admits he is looking after the zoo’s affairs as an additional Incharge. Abdul Rasheed, a civil engineer by profession besides looking after the wildlife department is also holding the charge of Marghazar Zoo Director and says he has been running day-to-day affairs of the zoo on additional basis since 2014. “I have ordered an inquiry into the death of the ostrich as I was informed about it at 4’O clock. We have sent the dead body for postmortem and after the laboratory report, we shall be able to determine the cause of the bird’s death,” said Mr Rasheed. According to him, the staff of the zoo told him that the bird had taken its feed at 2 p.m. and by that time it was behaving normally.
However by 4 p.m. the bird collapsed all of a sudden and was found dead. When asked how he could say the inquiry report would determine the cause of the bird’s death since last year’s report of another ostrich’s death is still pending, he admitted usually such reports delayed.
For all his sincere efforts to run the zoo, it was obvious that the guy had little knowledge of animals and the zoo. Capital Development Authority has handed the job of a professional zoologist or ornithologist to a civil engineer only for the administrative purposes turning a deaf ear to the demands of the visitors and animal rights activists to pay attention to the deteriorating conditions of the zoo. An eminent ornithologist of the country and Director of Pakistan Wildlife Foundation Safwan Shahab Ahmad when contacted, said this was really tragic and the bird was a rare specise.
The zoo staff needs to be properly trained to observe the behaviour, feeding patterns and environment of ostriches. Unfortunately, proper attention is not being given to the zoo affairs and the only recreation point of the city with a large number of animals is suffering the negligence of the high-ups, said he.

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